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1955 Talbot-Lago Baby T-15

An Exceptionally Original, Unrestored, One-Off, Coachbuilt Talbot-Lago

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Price $195,000
VIN 1220022
Exterior Color Dark Grey
Interior Color Brown
Mileage 22589 KMS
Engine 2.7 liter inline-4
Transmission 4-speed pre-selector
Status Hidden
Stock FJ2166

Comments

1955 Talbot-Lago Baby T-15
s/n 1220022
Coachwork by Barou

The name Talbot-Lago is synonymous with some of the most elegant and rare automobiles of the 20th century. Throughout the Art Deco era, these great cars were clothed in some of the most sumptuous coachbuilt bodies, draped in elegance, and opulently appointed. Owned by royalty, Hollywood elite, and exorbitantly wealthy individuals, these were cars of prestige and status with European flair and daring performance, both on and off the racetrack. Rare in number and increasingly so as the decades pass, it is a delight to find a totally original specimen with both a rare one-off body and exceptional provenance.

This extraordinary Talbot-Lago began life when the coachbuilder Barou of France purchased a chassis, reportedly to be same one used at the 1951 Paris Auto Show. The chassis was based on a Talbot-Lago prewar design (similar to the GSL - Gran Sport Longue chassis), utilizing a 116” wheelbase. The car was built around the unusual 120 hp 2.5 liter twin cam 4-cylinder engine, with twin Solex carburetors. Barou, having formerly worked with Saoutchik prior to branching out on his own, had cultivated unique ideas about car design. The design employed a very progressive and lengthy front end with a stylish Italian inspired profile. The side view incorporated very handsome, smooth fender sides presaging the later 1958 Ferrari 250GT PF Coupe. A gentle rise in the rear fender line distinguishes the profile, accented by the wrap around rear glass.

It appears that a few years later, the roof was removed and replaced, very likely by Barou to further freshen the look of the car. The current design employs two cleverly recessed reverse sections that optically lower the more formal rooflineThe resultant coupe was an elegant long wheelbase design, combined with clearly sporting ambitions. Eager to present their coachbuilding skills to the public, the finished car was used primarily for promotion by Barou after completion. The car was shown in 1953 and 1954, assumingly to earn new customers for Barou and perhaps to also draw attention to the ailing Talbot-Lago who, by 1955, were nearly out of business.

In 1957, Mr. Louis Cremer, a Talbot dealer, purchased the car, owning it for 10 years until 1967, when a Mr. Dupond (later to become the Talbot-Lago club president) purchased the car. During Dupond’s ownership, the aluminum head needed replacing which was done using an NOS unit, which was fitted to the original 4 cylinder engine. Mr. Dupond kept the car until he sold it back to Mr. Cremer in 1977. Mr. Cremer used the car primarily as a showpiece for his dealership. The current owner has since preserved the car exceptionally well, never allowing for any restoration, simply preserving the original finishes as best as possible, just as the previous two owners had over the past decades. The car features Borrani wire wheels, hydraulic brakes, and a Wilson preselect racing gearbox, just as it did when it left Barou as originally constructed. Recently, the car has been freshened up mechanically to include a new starter, recent brakes, and additional mechanical work.

Today, showing only 22,000 kilometers (14,000 miles) which are believed to be original, the car presents a handsome and elegant profile, reminiscent of its earlier days as a premier show car. It is recorded as the 22nd car bodied by Barou. The paint is believed to be original and remains glossy and in good condition overall, however there are several areas of light scratches, some chips that have intentionally not been touched up, and very minor areas of body dimpling. The hood, doors, and trunk lid are all formed from aluminum, allowing for a lightened body over the more traditional steel frames and substructure. Much of the chrome plating has succumbed to time, showing areas with pitting and hazing, but still remaining with luster that matches the original patina on the car. The Borrani wire wheels appear very nice and serviceable, however also showing pitting on the hubs and spokes. The glass appears to be original, surrounded by trim that remains very nice overall but with some needs in the rubber and weather stripping areas. Interesting details surround the car including the unusual taillights, upright grille, and of course the distinctive Talbot-Lago Baby script at the rear of the car.

The interior remains original as well, particularly the seating surfaces, which display material and stitching that remain in very good condition overall. The carpet has become rather worn but much of it remains intact and complete enough to use for patterns in restoration. The dashboard, instruments, and steering wheel are all original equipment displaying patina from the past 60 years of care, hued by aging and minor use. The interior finishes are all mercifully retained, ready for restoration in the future, should one endeavor to depart from the course of preservation.

Under the hood, the beautifully designed twin-cam Talbot-Lago engine displays the hallmark castings and detailed finishes that distinguish so many of the great Talbot-Lago Art Deco era designs. The long hood stretches out over the engine offering excellent service access. The engine compartment is clean and original with care having been given to as much of the original components as possible. The spacious trunk is easily accessed and when looking at the underside construction, reveals a high level of craftsmanship and care given to this car when it was first built. Underneath the car, the original construction validates the car has not been compromised either by damage or excessive exposure to harsh elements. Currently, the car starts easily, runs well, and drives but will benefit from additional mechanical attention should one decide to use the car on a regular basis.

This exceptionally rare and original Talbot-Lago Baby is surely among the most original low mile Talbot-Lagos in existence. One of the last traditional-chassis Talbot-Lagos built, this car is offered with documentation, reference articles and historic literature. This one-off Barou bodied Talbot-Lago is ready for the next owner to drive, show, and enjoy this truly exciting and unique part of automotive history.

 


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